Like Alexandra Burke, I was pregnant with my second child within a year of having my first
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 06, 2023 - 04:42PM
It is, hands down, the best thing I have ever done (Picture: Deborah Linton/This Morning/REX)

is about to join the ‘two under two’ club.

Meaning, a . 

‘We are so excited to do this all again,’ wrote the 34-year-old singer, after sharing beaming photos of her and partner, Darren Randolph, on Instagram this week.

‘Wow girl wait for us’ replied Strictly judge , which made me smile. 

See, I’m also an alumna of the ‘two tinies’ branch of . My first son was only six-months-old when we chose to have a second, and were soon pregnant.

At the time, people who saw me pushing one baby in a buggy while pregnant with another usually presumed I was either deranged or it was an accident (neither was the case) when I had the two of them just 15 months apart.

Seeing Alexandra’s announcement, I thought the exact thing I have told everyone who has ever asked me about my decision since: that it is, hands down, the best thing I have ever done.

All I know is that I have no regrets – and I can’t imagine Alexandra will either (Picture: Alexandra Burke/Instagram)

Both my boys were conceived via after several heart-wrenching years of fertility treatment and miscarriages. 

Our first was one of our two remaining embryos stored in the clinical freezer of a hospital, meaning that after he was born, we had only one shot left. 

So, when my husband and I sat in a hotel room in Spain as our six-month-old boy napped during our first family holiday, and I asked, out of nowhere: ‘Do you want to try for the last one?’ it was a no brainer for us. 

The first few months had been initially, utterly exhausting, overwhelming and busy, naturally.

Truthfully, though, we were elated to finally be parents. 

When I returned to work pregnant, after a year off, it was a talking point (Picture: Deborah Linton)

The journey to getting there had been so hard and felt so impossible at times that the actual stage felt easier – albeit those early days where you’re so tired your eyeballs sting, are a shock that no one is equipped for. 

We were out of the sleepless nights though, and were still on cloud nine – as Alexandra and Darren appear to be – doing something we’d longed for, it seemed silly not to do it all over again so soon.

For me, the practicality of returning to work in a newsroom as a journalist, with the knowledge I may have to undergo IVF again – the hormones, the waiting, the horrible pressure of balancing my job with hospital appointments and not telling anyone – was beginning to creep into my mind. 

It felt better to do it this way, while I was still on . 

So, when we got home, we told the nurses we’d like to try with our final embryo and, two weeks later, we had a positive result.

You do you, Alexandra (Picture: Alexandra Burke/Instagram)

When we told family and friends we were pregnant with our second, they were surprised, yes – we didn’t know anyone else with kids so close in age – but thrilled for us. How could they not be after all of our pain?

When I returned to work , after a year off, it was a talking point. In a ruthlessly ambitious profession, colleagues seemed surprised that I’d ‘sacrifice’ my career to do it. And I did, temporarily – but I couldn’t have been happier. I worked hard, then took a second maternity leave.

At home, when my second arrived, I rarely stopped in their waking hours – but I grew fond of a good routine. I gradually got both boys into nap patterns that gave me an hour’s window in the middle of the day where they were asleep and I could chuck washing on, collapse in a heap on my own, or drink a cup of cold tea. 

I adored being out with them both, carrying one in each arm, walking them in the double buggy, and going to the playground or just playing on the floor of our home. 

I have no regrets (Picture: Deborah Linton)

I made twice the amount of memories because I had two.

bills stayed down because I was at home with my baby and able to have the toddler with me too, limiting his nursery days, until I returned to work.

As they grew, it’s not an exaggeration to say I was asked up to three times a day if they were twins and, on supermarket visits, someone would frequently wonder if they were on offer, ‘two for one.’ (The joke did grow old.) 

They went to each other’s playdates and parties; started at the same school, a year apart, and with the same football team. 

They were into the same ; then play centres, sports and video games and they were – and still are – intensely lucky to have a constant companion to play with. 

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In many ways, when I look back, having kids with the same physical needs and interests made for more cohesive parenting. I have often thought it made life easier than emerging from the chaotic early years and diving right back into them when the eldest was at a different stage in his life. 

It is only now – my eldest is 10 and the second about to turn nine (they have a little brother, too, aged five, born without IVF) – that I notice sibling rivalry and competition creeping in. I spend a lot of time wondering if our decision to have them so close exacerbates that. 

Now, I try to make sure they each have their own space, separate play dates and interests and times that are just theirs. But, the irony is, even if they’ve spent two hours bickering and I finally separate them, I’ll usually find them glued to one another’s side again, playing together or kicking a ball, 10 minutes later.

Experts broadly describe 18 months to five years as an age gap ideal, taking into account the physical and emotional health of the mother and dynamics. But is there any such thing as not ideal, really, when you’re lucky enough to not only have one child, but to give them a sibling, too? 

Today, seeing my boys joined at the hip, all I know is that I have no regrets – and that I can’t imagine Alexandra will either.

You do you, Alexandra. I’m fairly sure you’ll come to thank yourself for it (and still be beaming on the other side) and, I hope, so will your kids – and mine.

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